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Are my heart rate zones all wrong?

Cardinal-RedCardinal-Red Posts: 37
Relatively new cyclist here, 6 months in now, and I'm training towards two events in May and June of 60 miles and then 88 miles (and yes I know big event is all relative!)

I have a training plan in place and the weekend is all about long endurance riding in zones 2 and 3, with some time in zone 4. So I did 3 hours this weekend, and my heart rate performance looks like this:

HR%20Zones_zps9usbqx3a.png

So of the 3 hours, this claims that 2 hours of it was spent in Z4 and hardly any in zone 2.

So recognising that these are not an exact science (Max HR is based on the 220 - age rule, and threshold HR based on 2 months of TP data setting it at 167, have I got these set up completely wrong?

To me it seems that 2 hours in the Threshold zone is not really sustainable - and while I was shot at the end of the ride, there was never a point on it when I felt drained, truth be told except the 2 big climbs I never once really felt out of breath.

You can see from the distance and elevation that it wasn't that demanding a ride (again relatively, it's my furthest one to date though).

And from a training point of view, is there any harm in doing it this way?

Note that my Garmin reset after 3 miles, and so the 16s in Zone 1 is not representative as the first few minutes of the ride are missing from this profile.

Thanks for any comments!

PS edited because got photo wrong

Posts

  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    Relatively new cyclist here, 6 months in now, and I'm training towards two events in May and June of 60 miles and then 88 miles (and yes I know big event is all relative!)

    I have a training plan in place and the weekend is all about long endurance riding in zones 2 and 3, with some time in zone 4. So I did 3 hours this weekend, and my heart rate performance looks like this:

    HR%20Zones_zps9usbqx3a.png

    So of the 3 hours, this claims that 2 hours of it was spent in Z4 and hardly any in zone 2.

    So recognising that these are not an exact science (Max HR is based on the 220 - age rule, and threshold HR based on 2 months of TP data setting it at 167, have I got these set up completely wrong?

    To me it seems that 2 hours in the Threshold zone is not really sustainable - and while I was shot at the end of the ride, there was never a point on it when I felt drained, truth be told except the 2 big climbs I never once really felt out of breath.

    You can see from the distance and elevation that it wasn't that demanding a ride (again relatively, it's my furthest one to date though).

    And from a training point of view, is there any harm in doing it this way?

    Note that my Garmin reset after 3 miles, and so the 16s in Zone 1 is not representative as the first few minutes of the ride are missing from this profile.

    Thanks for any comments!

    PS edited because got photo wrong

    So, you've logged 2h at your z4 without exploding. Maybe your max heart rate is higher than 220-age. These things vary a lot and setting accurate zones can be quite technical. Have you got a max HR measure from a ride?
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    220=age is bunkum. So yes your zones are wrong.

    You need to do a test. Google for the procedure.

    I'd not worry about it too much - just riding is what you need really.
  • Alex99 wrote:
    So, you've logged 2h at your z4 without exploding. Maybe your max heart rate is higher than 220-age. These things vary a lot and setting accurate zones can be quite technical. Have you got a max HR measure from a ride?

    That bit (that I have bolded) is my exact worry - from my understanding I don't think I should be able to do that, which makes me think my zones are wrong.

    According to TP my max rate on that ride was 180bpm - using the 220 formula, my max is 182 so I'm not far out there.
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    Just to add to what Fenix has said my 220 - age is 154, my actual is 186 more than a small difference.

    If I used the 154 figure and was riding at threshold I would still be in the middle of Z2, on a nice easy ride.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • fenix wrote:
    220=age is bunkum. So yes your zones are wrong.

    You need to do a test. Google for the procedure.

    I'd not worry about it too much - just riding is what you need really.

    Is this the 20 minute flat out test? I can do that on my training ride tomorrow.

    TP regularly tracks my threshold HR though and on this ride it increased it to 167.
  • AK_jnrAK_jnr Posts: 717
    No its not.

    You need a Max HR test. Completely different.
    Find a hill and smash it up there a few times and see what you come out with.
  • Yes they are wrong, threshold is pretty much what you can sustain for an hour max. My threshold heart rate (measured through a MAP test in a lab) is 170, I do intervals at threshold for 15-20 mins.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I'd struggle to find a place outside to do a mhr test. You dont want traffic or junctions or anything getting in the way. A turbo is the best bit.

    Its not for the faint hearted. It needs a good warm up and if you do it properly you wont rush back to do another.
  • I think I need a little lie down
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • zefszefs Posts: 484
    This is what worked for me to find the MHR:

    1) Warm up for 20 mins
    2) End warm up on a climb
    3) Climb for 5 mins steady pace
    4) Go back to the start of the climb, do the same thing except this time increase effort every minute
    5) When you can't go any faster on saddle do a max effort sprint to finish the test
  • If you have to enter your age in the software you're using then I'd suggest 220 - max as your theoretical age. I had to knock 14 years off but at least now I know my percentages and zone levels are a bit more accurate for me now.
  • It would also help if you were rested before doing the test. If you have too high an amount of fatigue then you won't be able to perform at your potential best. Also, remember to replicate the conditions for any subsequent test.

    If you can afford it, buy a power meter instead.
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,086
    It would also help if you were rested before doing the test. If you have too high an amount of fatigue then you won't be able to perform at your potential best. Also, remember to replicate the conditions for any subsequent test.

    If you can afford it, buy a power meter instead.

    eh? your max heart rate is your max HR its not really trainable, its a poor test as requires a great deal of motivation,

    i would say do the Carmichael 8min test or the TH 20min one, then base zones around this. you need other metrics to do HR based training, speed RPE etc but yes a PM is a far better tool.

    i do agree that whatever you do, you need to be well rested and motivated.
  • twotyredtwotyred Posts: 822
    To the OP yes your zones are all wrong. Forget basing zones on MHR as its too difficult to measure accurately. Just use the British Cycling threshold test and their zone calculator.

    https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/zuvvi/media/bc_files/sportivetrainingplans/THRESHOLD_TEST.pdf
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I've done what I think is a fairly accurate MHR test a couple of times. I've found a hill about 2.5 miles long which gets progressively steeper as it climbs, and it's about 10 miles from home so I'm properly warmed up when I get there. I gradually ramp up the effort and select progressively harder gears so that I'm gasping for breath and starting to suffer visual distortion as I reach the top. No danger of trying to repeat it.

    Rather annoyingly it always turns out to be very close to 220 minus age. All rather pointless really since I've never done anything remotely useful with the information.

    I did manage to hit my MHR last year when I was on a rental bike in Portugal. Garmin lost the plot and so did I, no mobile phone signal, roads closed because of brush / forest fires, temperatures hitting 40c, run out of food and drink and trying to make it back to the hotel in time for a boat trip...
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,593
    OP. Lots of good advice so far, but I'd suggest you should just get out there as much as possible and ride your bike.
    Ben

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